I've had a first test game of Ronin, with the Bushi buntai facing off against the Ikko-Ikki. We kept the game size small, 100 points, since we basically just wanted to test everything out. For this reason, we also chose to play a skirmish scenario without any frills - just good old fashioned beating at each other.
You'll have to pardon the rather poor pictures, I really have to start bringing a decent camera to the club and not relying on my phone. Some of the pictures (the decent ones) are taken by my opponent, Tim, who played the Ikko-Ikki.
The Ikko-Ikki took to the field led by a Sohei. Besides him, 3 Monto (2 with spears and one with a banner) was joined by a rabble of 6 peasants with improvised weapons.
Opposing them, and looking to
raid reconnoiter their
village, was the bushi. Lead by a Samurai, the rest of the force was 2 Ashigaru
archers, a single Ashigaru-Gashira spearman and an Ashigaru-Gashira with a banner.
Our setup was rather simple. After the game we found that we really hadn’t had enough terrain, but that was part of the reason for trying it out. I’ll be adding another small building and a larger one to the collection, and possibly making some walls. I hope that will be enough, if we also include some more trees.
The first few rounds were uneventful, with the Bushi largely staying in place and shooting, while the Ikko-Ikki came rushing at them. Shooting at long ranges were utterly ineffective, however, and the Ikko-Ikki managed to close the distance before suffering anything worse than a peasant with a slight headache (a stun result).
After clearing the last copse of trees and the buildings, this started to change. The Ikko-Ikki split up into two parts, with a Monto taking a peasant as a human shield and making a beeline for an Ashigaru archer on the flank, while the rest of the mob started towards the Samurai.
Then, though, my archers pulled through and took advantage of the shorter range to put an arrow in the leg of the Sohei. Although it was just a light wound, it would still bring him down to the same initiative level as my samurai, despite him carrying a naginata.
One of them, on the left flank, wound up in combat with a peasant, while the rest of the Ikko-Ikki mob charged my samurai, including the Monto who was previously moving towards my other Ashigaru archer.
Seeing this dishonorable rabble attacking his commander, the Ashigaru spearman bravely interposed himself and made a beeline for the Sohei – with me winning initiative for the round, he got to strike first, and before the Ikko-Ikki could do anything, he had speared the monto though the chest and killed him.
He didn’t live to see his bravery celebrated however, as the two Monto promptly killed him in retaliation. In the meantime, the samurai commander had put up a wholly impressive, but ultimately ineffective, display of swordsmanship towards the peasant in combat with him. On the flanks, the Ashigaru archers had easily killed off the peasants who’d charged them.
On the right, the lone archer was engaged by a Monto with spear. The left archer ran towards him to help, worried that the Yari-equipped Monto might be able to kill off or wound his comrade before he was able to strike back, and the banner-carrying Ashigaru-Gashira moved forward to help his commander fighting a Monto and a peasant.
The left archer hadn’t needed to worry, though. His combat turn was instead spent trying not to gag at the sight of a Monto being cut to shreds by a roll of double 6 by the right archer, who had clearly been taking lessons in slicing and dicing.
Meanwhile, the Samurai had realised he’d dishonour his ancestors if he didn’t start actually fighting and let the Ashigaru do all the heavy lifting, and he dispatched the yari-equipped monto, although not before being stunned in the process. The Ashigaru-Gashira with the banner swiftly killed the peasant trying to flank his leader.
At this, we ended the game. With only a peasant (and a stunned one at that) and the Monto with the banner left, the outcome did not seem to be in doubt.
All in all, a good time was had by both of us. To be honest, I think the Ikko-Ikki list I’d made for 100 points was a bit underpowered for this kind of game. It seems like they’d be much more at home with more terrain and objectives that would force the other player to divide his men, allowing him to swarm him with peasants more effectively. Part of the reason for my playing this defensively and allowing the Ikko-Ikki to come to me was our rules test before the game where we matched the Sohei and 2 Peasants against the Samurai and a lone Ashigaru with a bow. In that, the higher initiative of the Sohei with naginata as well as the effect of 2 stuns from the peasants proved to be decisive, and I was under the impression that as soon as the Ikko-Ikki hit close combat I’d be in real trouble and basically fold.
As it turned out, this was rather far from the truth. Resolving combats with multiple participants as 2 or more distinct combats where only one side has multiple models engaged works really, really well from a gameplay perspective and helped the game flow much better than it would have otherwise, but also made it a bit harder to mob the Samurai since the Ashigaru was there to break up the angry horde of religious peasants. Plus, I was lucky that I managed to take out the Sohei, which was basically the only model with a chance of taking out my Samurai in a fair fight.
For the next game, I’m aiming at either 200 points or at the very least, far more terrain. I’ll have to see about getting some walls made, but I’ve also got 2 buildings almost ready. In the 200 point list, the Ikko-Ikki will be joined by more Monto, a Samurai and a Honsou, which should bring them up to a much more even standing quality-wise. At least, when facing the Bushi used here. The last Bushi is still being painted, but the infantry is done now:
The only models remaining is 2 high-ranking samurai on warhorses that seems like they'll be absolute beasts on the field.